Category Archives: students

SY Waterford Meeting:

The revolutionary ideas of Che Guevara

Student Forum

6pm Thurs 11th February

Room RHA 203

Organised by Socialist Party & Socialist Youth in Waterford IT

For more info – 086 1225374

Come to the Socialist Youth Summer Festival

SY Summer Festival Brochure

SY Summer Festival Brochure

Friday 22nd August – Sunday 24th August

Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow

All Welcome

Cost: €65/£50 (Cost includes accomodation, food and travel)

To download the brochure please click here.

If you would like to book your place please send your name, address, phone, e-mail and any special food requirements you may need to:

Socialist Youth Dublin
P.O. Box 3434, Dublin 8

Socialist Youth Belfast
13 Lombard St
Belfast
BT1 1RB

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The Real Miss UCD!

Elisa O’Donovan, Dublin Socialist Youth

UCD Socialist Youth last week set up the Students Against Sexism campaign to protest against the Miss UCD beauty pageant sponsored by UCD Students Union. This beauty pageant is part of the Miss University competition and apart from being sexist, it bans mothers, wives and women under 5ft4 from entering!

The protest held was enormously successful with over 70 students and staff showing their support, along with messages of solidarity from other universities where the pageant had taken place.

The protest began with a speaker from the UCD equality department, highlighting the huge effects beauty pageants have on young women with regards to body image. Second speaker, Ailbhe Smyth, spoke of how acceptable sexism has become in society and how Miss World encourages this as it allows women to be viewed as just objects. The Socialist Youth representative spoke of how the union’s role was to fight for women’s rights on campus, particularly highlighting the lack of decent child care facilities and health facilities on campus. Each speaker was met with a rousing response from the large crowd of students.

Following the speakers there was the Real Miss UCD pageant. All contestants were immediately disqualified as one was too short, the other had two children and the other was too masculine! Eventually a sheep was crowned the real Miss UCD to signify the union following the flock and not standing up for women rights on campus. “There was a great feel about UCD today, students were standing up against discrimination. It was empowering and shows how successful direct action can be” said Sophie Grenham after the demo.

UCD Socialist Youth will now continue its campaign against sexism in UCD and continue the fight to ensure equality for all on campus.

North: Fight for young workers’ rights

Philip Lynn

For the majority of young people in Northern Ireland life is getting more difficult rather than easier.

Despite forecasts in the past of a ‘peace dividend’, ordinary working class people and youth have seen little improvement in their daily lives, in fact the Assembly Executive’s policies are set to make things worse.

Unemployment is becoming an increasingly likely prospect for many young people. For 18-24 year olds, the rate of unemployment has increased by 4% to 11% in the last year alone. This adds to the difficulties facing young workers who often earn low levels of pay based on a discriminatory minimum wage. Last year saw a 3% rise in the minimum wage for workers aged 22 or over, bringing it to £5.52 despite an 11 year high of over 4% in the Retail Price Index of inflation. For younger workers, the minimum wage is even more appalling. The rate for 18- 21 year olds is now £4.60 and the rate for 16 and 17 year olds has increased up by 10p to £3.40.

What makes these levels of poverty pay and unemployment even more unbearable is the Assembly’s pro-big business agenda – cuts in the health service, funnelling public money into private pockets through PFI and PPP projects, privatising our water service, which will cause a huge rise in water bills and will add to the precarious situation facing many young workers.

For many students, the situation is the same: desperate. Increasing living costs combined with tuition fees of over £3,000 a year are either leaving students in crippling amounts of debt or are forcing them out of universities altogether.

Despite the Assembly flirting with the idea of a Scottish-style education system (which, contrary to popular belief, still leaves many students under a mountain of debt) no commitments have been made to offer students what they need – free education and a living grant for all.

These shortcomings are not mistakes on the Assembly’s part. Rather they are part of a conscious policy to put the interests of big business in front of the interests of workers and young people.

Socialist Youth believes that now, perhaps more than ever, it is necessary to organise a fightback against the neo- liberal attacks being made on workers and young people.

We are an active campaigning organisation, which fights against all forms of discrimination, sectarianism and exploitation and for a democratically run socialist alternative to the neo-liberal attacks of the Assembly parties.

Get involved: Join the fightback today! Join Socialist Youth

North: Scrap fees – Free education for all

Conor Barr, Belfast SY

Student fees in the North are set to rise from £3,000 to £3,145 in the new university semester. But some university bosses are still not happy with that, threatening they want to raise fees to as much as £10,000 a year.

Before the Assembly was established the main sectarian parties said they opposed tuition fees. But they have suddenly dropped their opposition to fees since they got their hands on power.

Education is a right not a privilege. Economic background should not be a factor in deciding who should be “entitled” to education. Tuition fees are clearly an attack against working class young people. Most working people now cannot afford to finance their sons and daughters through university. This increase in fees will further cut off working class youth from being able to continue their studies. Recent figures show that the amount of people applying to study at universities in Northern Ireland is falling.

Socialist Youth fights for the scrapping of student fees, free education for all and a living grant for all students. Capitalism can’t deliver education for all, it is only interested in making profit. That is why the fight for free education also needs to be a fight for a socialist future.

Manchester Students occupy university building

Over 300 students from the University of Manchester yesterday organised an occupation of the Arthur Lewis Building on their campus after being confronted by police. The Arthur Lewis Building costing millions of pounds was an example of the university’s commitment to big business over the needs and interests of students.

Police attempted to stop students protesting before the occupation but instead were forced to seal off the area using a special riot unit. The occupation ended yesterday at 6pm after police allowed students to leave. However students held a 3 1/2 hour meeting to discuss their demands against fees and for quality education.

Students in University of Manchester had complained of libraries not having up to date textbooks and a lack of student facilities, issues that students in Northern Ireland know all too well.

Socialist Students (the sister organisation of the Socialist Society in England and Wales) were involved in the protest and were arguing for the complete abolition of all fees and the implementation of a living grant for all students. Tomorrow (Thurs 24th April) Socialist Students are organising a meeting on the future of education to co-incide with the Teacher’s and Lecturer’s strike.

This protest shows how a fighting leadership of Student Union’s can give an important fight back against the effects of fees. A united campaign involving fighting student’s across England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as education workers could force the government to scrap fees.

For footage of the occupation you can visit:

http://www.channelm.co.uk/video_4×3.html?bcpid=1213934526&bctid=1517402038

The demands of the student occupation:

  1. The President / VC will write a monthly column about the goings for the UMSU newspaper Student Direct, that will also be published on the UMSU website.
  2. The President / VC will also be interviewed by Student Direct, using questions sent in by students, once a semester.
  3. The current public Q&A session that the President / VC takes part in once a semester will be publicised to staff and students by the University. All staff are welcome to attend.
  4. Students and Staff must have representation on all steering panels, including Building Design. Staff and Student must have input into the selection of the new President / VC.
  5. All first-year Course Welcoming lectures must include a talk on avenues of student participation in University decision-making processes and explain what the “2015 Vision” and “Capital Plan” will mean practically-i.e. building plans; department moving plans; axing of course module options.
  6. A minimum cap of 12 hours per week must be introduced for face-to-face contact hours. Courses with more contact time must not use this as a reason to cut hours.
  7. Online and Distance Learning are only to supplement this cap-they are not a substitute for contact time. Core modules must have non-online learning alternative options so as to be accessible to all students.
  8. The Personal Tutor system should ensure that all students have a one-to-one contact at University. Students must have good access to health and disability support staff.
  9. The university ends staff cut-backs now. No dependence on Temporarily Contracted Staff.
  10. Stop investment in and from unethical industries, including the arms trade. Investments must be made transparent and open to Staff/Student discussion. The Freedom of Information Act must be respected.
  11. The resources of recently closed libraries must be re-instated. In future, new library buildings should be built before the old ones are closed.
  12. Increase in use of University-based talent, such as in-sourcing from the Architecture Department. This increases Student participation in University decision making.
  13. The University will join students and staff in our fight for a free education. The President / VC will be open in their support for a free education.

For more informartion visit www.socialiststudents.org.uk

Say NO to the Miss UCD pagent

BY ELISA O’DONOVAN – UCD Students Against Sexism

This year see’s the first (and hopefully last!) Miss UCD beauty pageant, sponsored by UCDSU ,alongside trashy tabloids The sun and News of the world. The first Miss UCD takes place on Thursday 17th April. The winner of the ‘competition’ will win automatic entry to Miss Ireland as well as winning beauty makeovers , clothes and a gym membership. Miss Ireland and hence Miss UCD bans all mothers, wives and women under 5’4 from entering.These sexist competitions have no place in Ireland and particularly in UCD. These types of competitions are demeaning and are an excuse for putting sexism on parade They encourage the idea that women should be seen as sex objects to be judged by men, as well as making women believe that to be desirable they have to conform to unrealistic types of ‘beauty’.

The Miss university pageant is doing the rounds in third level colleges throughout Ireland and already a Miss DIT,Miss Portebello,Miss NCI,Miss RCSI,Miss St Pats and Miss Tallaght IT have been ‘crowned’ with extensive positive media coverage. Miss Ireland and Miss world seems to have become an acceptable form of ‘entertainment’ in Ireland despite thats its a competiton that is grossly offensive to both men and women. 

Why oppose it?

It has become normal for young women to be irrationally critical of their bodies. As young women we are bombarded with on average 600 ads/day each telling us how to look .Every week there’s a new part of our body we have to change and look better in order to be accepted and respected by society. The young women most celebrated in Irish media are Katy French, Rossana Davidson ,those that are ‘ beautiful’ and successful with Miss Ireland being the most pictured young women in Irish media. The effect that this has on
women cannot be overstated. In Ireland alone 6000 women suffer from eating disorders compared to 400 men. Self esteem in young Irish females has never been so low. This is because as women we are constantly barraged with how we should and must look. This stereotype of youth, clear skin, sparkling teeth, tanned and toned is a stereotype which is completely reinforced by the Miss Ireland and Miss World franchise. And who does this stereotype benefit? Does it benefit us women? Of course not it directly benefits’s the pockets of the Miss Ireland franchise!

All the time women are struggling with self esteem and self worth while big business is making billions of our insecurities. Miss Ireland helps accelerate these insecurities by allowing wealthy businessmen on the judging panel to choose what society should see as desirable or not. Miss Ireland is not run for fun or for creating opportunities for women as it often proclaims, its sole purpose is to make as much money for the organisers. Millionaire businessman and owner of the Miss Ireland franchise, Krish Naidoa, recently stated in a daily mail article that ‘we ( the miss Ireland organisers) are all in it to make money.’ Like the beauty and diet industrys constantly advertising a new diet trend or latest must have product which as a result doesn’t boost our self esteem it only boosts the enormous profits of the diet/ beauty industry. Last year alone L’oreal made a massive €1.86 billion in profits!

Miss UCD will also contain the famous swimsuit portion. This is where women don bathing suits purely so there bodies can be judged to see if they conform to what is desirable for society I.e. lacking wrinkles, celluite, flab and every other normal constituent of a women’s body. This is a pervasive force not only in shaping our body ideals but also in creating stereotypes on how women should act and be. The female body has become a commodity that can be sold. From playboy bunnies to Miss world women are seen for a sexual use other than as a person with the capacity for independent action and thought. Frequent exposure to media images that sexualize women and girls affect greatly how women conceptualise feminity and sexuality. It leads them to accept more constrained and stereotypical notions about gender roles and sexual roles. Miss world is part of an industry based on portraying women as sexual objects, available to be “consumed” by a male customer. Women’s sexuality is reduced to pleasing men.

What about Student Union involvment? 

Our SU is there to represent us, the students. Its role ,like all students union is to empower and reach out to all students whatever their sex. Students need a strong union to fight for students rights and to campaign,educate and inform students on all issues.

However, this year UCDSU has completely ignored women’s issues on campus. The women’s officer, an active member of fianna fail, has held only one event all year. Women have never been more isolated from the union which can be seen in the fact that we once again have an all male sabbatical team to represent us next year. Considering women are a majority on this campus their issues whether health, social or political should be represented yet they are being completely ignored by UCDSU.

The union justified their reasons for holding the Miss UCD pageantby running it as a charity event for the primary immunodeficiency association; a charity that helps mothers and fathers cope with raising a child with a incurable paediatric condition. It is ironic that in order to raise money to help struggling families the union has to resort to using a competition that bans mothers and wives from entering!

The union should not be holding beauty pageants, they should be fighting to ensure equality for ALL on campus by fighting for; decent child care facilities for mothers and fathers on campus, free smear testing and proper health care facilities for women, fighting for workplace rights,including maternity leave and equal pay; and to speak out against all other forms of discrimination in Belfield.

To oppose union involvement in Miss UCD, UCD students against sexism are holding a mock Miss UCD beauty pageant where the REAL Miss UCD will be crowned. At the event,which will be held Thurs 17th April at 1 outside the arts block, we will be distributing leaflets to highlight some of the challenges facing women in modern Ireland. There will also be speakers present from the Equality department, the Socialist Party and more.

We ask all students and staff from all univeristys who oppose sexism to get involved.Come along on the day,show your support and say NO to sexism! 

Miss Ireland rules: http://www.missnorthernireland.co.uk/rules.php
Miss afterdark rules: http://www.afterdark.ie/content/view/50/54/